White House insists Iran nuclear negotiations ‘separate’ from US hostage talks


White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that US efforts to free Americans detained in Iran are “separate” from negotiations to curb the country’s nuclear program. Psaki said the issues aren’t linked after the US denied an Iran state media report that the US will unfreeze $7 billion in Iranian assets for the release of four Americans. Four Iranians also would be freed. “Our policy as the US government has not changed on ransom. But I will tell you that discussions to bring home Americans who are held in Iran are something that are raised — that is raised at the highest level through discussions,” Psaki said at her daily press briefing. “Obviously those are indirect, those are often indirect discussions where we have our own channels, of course. And they are separate from the nuclear discussions in Vienna.” She added: “It is a commitment and a desire by this administration to certainly bring those hostages back. But reports over the weekend that an agreement had been reached to exchange prisoners was not true.”

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